The OGL and Sasquatch, Current Interests

Hello! No writing news to report, other than I’m picking up a historical fiction/science horror project I set aside after 25,000 words and seeing if I can get that going again. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to bang out a first draft of something new regardless of what happens with the manuscripts I’ve got floating out there already. Send some good vibes my way!

The OGL Controversy

The big story in tabletop gaming so far this year is, of course, Wizards of the Coast’s effort to replace the 3e-era OGL (Open Game License) with a new OGL, a draft of which “leaked” a few weeks ago. The short version: the language of the draft includes things that I could never live with as a small publisher. We aren’t doing much with Sasquatch Game Studio these days, but signing on with the proposed 2023 OGL would be impossible.

Many other people in the TTRPG business have jumped into the fray already and are frankly better informed than I am at this point in time, so I’m not going to dig into details. From my point of view, I just want material Sasquatch already released to remain available. We sell PDFs and print-on-demand through sites such as DriveThruRPG . It’s not cost-effective for us to take books we’ve already published and make them compliant with a demanding new license. If push came to shove, we’d just have to take down some of our editions and leave up others like our Savage Worlds version.

As things stand right now, it appears Hasbro/WotC is rethinking requirements that would make us take down our Pathfinder– or 5e-compatible Primeval Thule books. We’ll see what develops in the months ahead, but for now those are still available. You should check them out if you haven’t already!

Okay, on to some stray thoughts to begin 2023.

What I’m Reading

The Fall of Numenor (Tolkien). This interesting collection draws together everything Tolkien wrote or hinted about in the Second Age of Middle Earth and arranges it in chronological order. The big sources are the Akallabeth and Of the Rings of Power from the Silmarillion, but it includes plenty of bits from various other collections and even letters Tolkien wrote. I guess I’m a lore purist, because I wish Amazon’s Rings of Power had tried to stick a little closer to this.

(Me, I would have tried to tell a story set in three eras, perhaps using a filter/color palette to help the viewer keep track of which era they were in. One track would be the making of the rings and the war in Eregion around 1600 Second Age, one track would be the corruption and fall of Numenor around 3300, and the third track would be the Last Alliance around 3420. Plenty of Elf characters could be in all three eras. But that would have been crazy ambitious, right?)

What I’m Watching

My recent shows include Willow and Wednesday. One is brilliant, the other is a soggy bag of tired fantasy tropes seasoned with teen angst. (I made you guess for a second, didn’t I?) Just in case it’s not clear, Wednesday is the brilliant one: dark, dry humor, top-notch writing and dialogue, and a mystery that still has me guessing halfway through. Willow is just not good. I watched it anyway hoping it would get better, but … meh. Watch it if you’re a Warwick Davis fan or love fantasy shows so much you just want to see ‘em all.

What I’m Playing

I recently played through the Dawn of Ragnarok DLC for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and enjoyed it. I particularly liked the “random dungeon” style mission of the Niflheim quests, and did get quite caught up in trying to make it all the way to Hel’s castle. Can’t wait for the next AC to come out.

A couple of months ago I got a new PC for the first time in 10+ years. Out of curiosity I decided to see if some of the games I used to like that just weren’t running on my old PC anymore worked better on the new one. The answer is YES, they did. So I’ve been playing around with Civilization: Beyond Earth for the first time in six or seven years. I have to say, it’s striking how pretty Civ 6 is compared to the older titles in the family. But C:BE has some interesting gameplay that is fun to explore again. I’m particularly struck by the Affinity and Diplomacy systems. I’d love to see Civ 7 (whenever that comes along) use some of that for inspiration.

That’s it for now. Good gaming, good reading, and good watching to all!

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